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  1. Professional guides enable the handling of LOTS of fish. I would suggest much more than the average joe on the side of the river. If there is a move to "limit angling effort/number of fish handled". the government better limit the guiding industry that exploits a public resource before the regulations go after recreational anglers. I don't want to see some crap about "rod days" and their associated monetary value being used as a reason to give the guiding industry a pass on limiting their impact.
    3 points
  2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kjz8VGQiXGg
    3 points
  3. Patagonia has the best warranty/repair service in the industry. I returned two pair of waders, full chest wader and their original waist high. They then informed me that the chest high were repairable but they couldn't fix the waist high and gave me a $200 credit toward the purchase of any Patagonia product. When I contacted Patagonia to spend the credit toward a new pair of waist high and pay the difference ($200) they sent me the new pair for no additional charge, just the credit I had. They were shipped immediately and I received them within a week. The only cost to me was the initial shipping of two pair of waders. Worth the effort to send them back for sure!
    2 points
  4. This is a hard lake to get info on - but, I been there and done that...twice. So if you're interested, here is some as much info as I can remember. Some might get upset about this, but I know how frustrated I was when I wanted to do the trip and couldn'f find info. I've both biked (you can really only bike to just past the half way point) and hiked to this lake. First time we biked to the Athabasca river crossing, then hiked the rest of the way. It was July long week-end in 2006. This year we hiked the whole way and went for a longer trip - July 15-21st. Biking - Sounded like a good idea. But then, your pack will likley weight between 55-70 pounds. If you do alot of mountain bilking, you might be okay, but with the weight in back packs - it is tough to bike (can't stand up to go up hills, your butt will be really sore, and going down some hills you could go over the handlebars (two of us did)) - you break a bone up there and it will be a big problem because there is very little traffic on the trail. The first 15 km of the trail (to the Athabasca River crossing) is a pretty easy trail to ride; but, although you may save 1-2 hours, I really don't think it is worth it. Hiking - this year we hiked the whole way and broke the hike into two sections - first 15km to the Athabasca, second 15 km (it is 15 km to the Fortress Creek campground, which is where you want to stay (5 km less to the East Campground, but you are miles away from any good fishing)). On our intial trip we left Calgary at 2:30 a.m., drove to Sunwapta, had breakfast, then biked, then hiked to the east campground - a pretty long day. This year we left work at noon, drove to Sunwapta, hiked the first 15 km and camped at Athabasca, then got up next morning and hiked the rest. This was a much easier way to do it. Trails - first 15 km - old forestry road - very easy hike. Gradual down hill for first 3-4 km then moderate elevation changes to the Athabasca. From the Athabasca to the Chaba river crossing, tougher trail (guys have biked it, but would be tough with much kit), fairly good climb right after you cross the Athabasca Bridge, then up and down, then down a long hill to the Chaba (you'll notice it more on the climb back out!). After the Chaba, fairly easy trail (read flat) to the East Campsite, then you pretty much follow the lake to the Fortress Creek campsite. You may be tempted just to stop at the East Camp - but don't. You'll spend most of your day in your tube kicking like a bugger to get down the lake, and then back - not worth it. The first year we were there, another group of hikers showed up who had biked further than we did. They had panniers for the bikes, so seemed to work better. They camped down at the Fortress Creek site. River Crossings - At the 15 km point you cross the Athabasca. There is a bridge (some have said it washed out - BS -it is there and it is the same bridge that was there two years ago). The bridge is not right at the junction of the Athabasca and the Chaba - it is several hundred metres up the Athabasca. If you continue to hike southwest from the campground you come out near the junction and the bridge is not really visible (might be why some have said it washed out). So from the campground - take the trail that goes to the left (southeast) - it'll save you a few hundred metres plus an uphill/downhill. Tough to say because the trail winds, but it is about 6-7 km of hiking to the Chaba crossing. The Chaba is glacial - that means in the summer the lowest levels are int he am - if it is a hot day, the levels rise fairly steadily during the day. If you try to do the entire hike in one day, it'll be a little tougher to cross. Where you crass the Chaba - look for a yellow crossing sign on a post, right near a bush with a bunch of shoes/other offerings tied to it. The Chaba is broken into numerous channels here and the total distance to cross is probably 300-400 meters. Look upstream on about a 45 degree angle from where you start and you'll see another yellow sign showing where you finish the crossing. Head on a line that is roughly between the two signs. In 2006 July long week-end the river was pretty low at about 2:00 pm (when two of us crossed) - but much higher at about 4:00 pm when the second group of two crossed. On the way out, we decided to fish most of the day and then hike out - by the time we got to the river, it was probably 6:00 pm - and the crossing was pretty exciting - but still manageable. This year we also left around 6:00, and although the river looked alot higher, the crossing was pretty easy. We took water shoes/socks to wear for the crossing and used them when tubing as well. The water is a tad chilly - when you fist step into it you lose feeling in your feet. After a few days of tubing in Fortress however, which is abnout 1/10 of a degree warmer than the river - you don't even notice the cold on the way out. Overall - the River is pretty easy to get accross - especially with 60-70 lbs on your back to keep you grounded. If need be, lock arms and put the tallest guy upstream to break the current and have the others walk beside him downstream (if that makes any sense) Campsite - As I said, wouldn't waste your time at the East End site. Head for Fortress Creek (there is a site in between but it's also pretty far from the fishing). Interstingly - when you cross the Chaba you are less than 4km 'as the crow flies from Fortress Creek site - but it is about a 7-8 km hike - and reasonably tough. The East End site did have a Bear Pole (as does the Athabasca Crossing site), but Fortress Creek does not. We put a bear pole up (ran a log between two trees) and put all the food up - but that was about it. In addition, the East End site came with a large Maul (Axe) that we used to chop up the plentiful firewood that was at the site. In 2006 the lodge provided the firewood. This year, there was no Maul/Axe and no firewood at the Fortress Creek site (of course the first time we took a saw with us, this year we did not). Not sure if the rules have changed (lodge supplying firewood) or if they just didn't do it - but it was a bit of a pisser. Other than that, the site is pretty good. Because there was no Bear Pole we cooked, ate, and stored the food at the main site (by the fire pit) and then set our tent up about 75m further down the path on the beach. Although it looks like the beach site would be exposed to the wind - it was really protected - and probably the nicest place to sleep. Dave Jensen came by in a boat one day to say hello and indicated that the parks folks were looking to put up a no camping sign at the beach (I guess because of the huge amount of pressure the site receives!) - but it worked great for us. We also kept out float tubes and rods there - but put them up in top of a bush at night (see below under 'Critters'). Weather - we had fantastic weather in 2006, and pretty good weather this year. No rain on either trip. The wind this year was really strong and predominantly blows from West to East down the lake. Mosquitos seemed rough the first day - but 100% DEET fixed that (imported from good old USA). Temperatures were warm, but with the cold cold water and the wind, it got chilly out on the lake when the sun went behind the clouds. Fishing - Right, that's why we were there. In 2006, as I said, we spent a good portion of our trip going back and forth between the East End of the Lake and Fortress Creek. That year the only decent fishing was out in front of where the creek comes in. We fixed that this year by staying right at Fortress Creek. However, the fishing was not as good at the creek this year. It is a huge lake, and Brookies are likley in large schools wherever the water temp is right. But - there are fish everywhere in that lake. Our luck this year varried from no fish for one poor lad to a several fish landed per day for another. This lake is not Catch and Release, although I think the lodge does practice that. But trust me, you are burning major calories up there (see Food tips below) and are perpetuually hungry. We ate fish everyday - and they were spectacular. Best fish I have ever tasted. As for size, I have a picture of the biggest fish landed and will post later - but most of the fish were about as fat as I've ever seen brookies and almost all were 2-4 lbs +. Tip - Bring a freaking net with you! One guy had a net and when we were all close, we could share it but, of course, you never hook the monster when you're close to someone else. Tip - Make sure the freking net is Big (deep). The largest fish hooked played and lost (within inches of landing it on shore) had to be at least 10 lbs. No exaggeration here - it was huge. My heart is beating faster just remembering it. According to Dave, the fishing varies from a few fish per day to 30+ per day. He indicated the lake was pretty popular with Float Planes from Ice off through all of June (Lake altitude is about 4500 ft I think). Regarding the question about fishing the rivers - Chaba and Athabasca were very silty when we went through. Perhaps later in the fall they would clear up. They are in Jasper, so you'd need a Park fishing license. Fishing Tips: What worked? Well, we fished long and hard for quite a few days. The first few fish were caught on a Red Doc Spratley. The most successful fly was a green Half Back (not sure that is what is is called, but that is what it looked like - not the kind with peacock herl body). Tough to describe - I'll check to see if i still have one. However, the fly didn't seem to matter as much as the line. I had two sinking lines with me and type 6 super fast sink and a clear intermediate sink (that I had never had much luck with). As the lake is in BC - you can fish with two rods, so I had both going. With exception of 1 fish, every fish I caught was on the clear intermediate sink. My partners didn't have this type of line with them (and my rental rates were not acceptable to them). For most of the trip I just used one rod (after some fun and excitement when I had one on and then hooked another, or bottom, not sure which). Again - landing a big fat Brookie in your tube is very tough without a net (about 35% success rate) - getting him in the tube is not that hard, keeping him there is. As I said, the fishing in front of the Creek was good in 2006 and not as good this year. However, trolling out from shore (get a good ways out) way up the lake produced fish and many hits. Trolling close to shore or casting and stripping produced lots of snags. I would simply go a ways out from shore, troll up the lake slowly, and read a book - every now and then strip in a 20-30 strips (one fish took my Spratley 2 feet from my tube as I was pulling it in to see how the fly looked in the water). Fishing Kit - Float tubes - Has to be light, but also, the donut kind makes it very hard to go up the lake against the prevailing wind. I had a Caddis Navigator (two pontoons) and was able to move around pretty easy. Don't leave your float tube out at night (see critters below). We had breathable waders - and it was chilly. But neoprenes would be too heavy. My advice is to bring some long johns and waer your rain pants inside your waders - that was pretty good. Feet were okay. For this trip, I purchased some lightweight fins from Cabelas (they were fantastic and incredibly light - but do not ever try to walk forward in them). I used Water socks instead of boots and again no problem. Rods - I brought a dry line, and some fish were rising, but didn't really use it much. Intermediate Sink Clear line worked best. We used a 4X 7lb tippet - (Fluro Plus) - the fish get big, and also when you hook branches on the bottom, you might get your fly back (and if only one fly is really working, you don't want to lose it). And did I mention - Bring a Net? A Big net. Boats - I had sent a note to Dave J before our trip asking about renting a boat off of them, but didn't get a response. That doesn't mean they won't but I don't think it is likely. A boat would definately make the fishing better - but not completely necessary. Don't leave your rod on the ground or leaning against a tree at night (see 'Critters' below). I get the impression the main mission of the Lodge might not be to make money - most of the owners seem to have plenty of that already (see the note about the brand new helicopters below) - so if boat rentals encouraged more people to use the lake, they might not see that as a good thing. Sure doesn't hurt to ask though. Other Kit - Backpacks -The first time we went in, we packed everything up the week before - except for a 'couple of minor things' and the packs were 45-50 lbs. The night before we left we loaded up and weighed them - 60-65 lbs each. And we were really hungry. This year we bought a bunch of light weight gear and loaded up on more food (we ended up with more food than we could eat) - packs weighed 60-70 lbs (including lots of water). If you can do this trip with 3-4 guys, all your food, fishing gear, tubes etc and keep it to 45-50 lbs - you are doing well - but I bet you'll find yourself needing for something out there. I wore a Camel back full of water on my front this year and that worked great - highly recommend it. Obvioulsy get a good 60-70 litre pack - and, do some training with the pack on. If you plan on doing the hike in one go - it will be a tough one. Cooking - A plastic Bodum coffee maker and 2 lbs of Starbucks coffee were well worth it (it would have been even better is someone hadn't left the Coffemate in the car). We tried tons of different dehydrated food and by and large it was all very good. The important thing is if it says serves 4, it'll be about right for three guys. Bring lots of food. Bring lots of Fuel. Bring some spices (we had Mrs Dash garlic and lemon - put it on everything - it was outstanding on the fish). Water Filter - Likley no issue with drinking the water from Fortress creek, but we filtered everything. This year we had a gravity feed filter (big 10 litre bag that you hang) versus the pump by hand type - no question it was named "New Piece of kit of The Year" (tied with Bodum Coffee Maker) - worked incredibly well. Critters - We saw no Bears on either trip. We did see lots of Skat this year - some very fresh. Never been too concerned about bears, but we all did have bear spray. We made lots of noise (mostly our old bones creaking and incesant complaining about hills), so not only didn't see any bears but saw no deer or elk on the trail either. However - at the campsites, there will be porcupines. Guaranteed. They will eat anything. On our first trip we had an Abel rod eaten, and one guy's tube was chewed right at the valve - he got to fish a total of a few hours. So put everything up. For some reason, they would not look under a tarp we had out. Not sure if that will always work, but we put a tarp over the cooking stuff etc, and the porcs never bothered. This year they got toothpaste, two leather gloves, and probably some other stuff we just never missed. You will grow to despise the porcs if you go - so make sure you put your tubes, waders, rods etc up on top of a bush (not in a tree - they can climb like crazy). Two legged critters - It is an amazing lake. The scenery if awesome. There was more activity on the lake this year than last time with Lodge traffic and one private plane that came in. As I said, Dave J came by once to check on us, other than that we didn't see any of the boats form the lodge (think they head to the far west end). The Float plane for the lodge came in twice, as well as two private helicopters that flew into the lodge (after ripping down the lake at high speed and dangerous levels over the water). If whoever was flying that helicopter is reading - juts like to say that as a former Flight Safety Officer I was not impressed with you screaming directly over my head at full speed and only 50 feet off the deck - that was just irresponsible and dumb. My buddies who were down at the other end of the lake were also not impressed when you buzzed them. The private float plane that came in, moored at the beach where we were camped. We had a good visit with the pilot while his two sons fished for a couple of hours - what a great set-up (Hey Brad - what happened to the case of beer you were going to bring us?). Summary - This was well worth it. After the first trip, we swore it was a one time thing, but wanted to go back and catch a huge Brookie. No question a boat would make the fishing better/easier - but this trip is as much about 'Can i do this?' as it is about fishing. Not many places in the world you can do it, and likley won't be able to do it at this lake, in this way for much longer (Just a Guess on my part). I'll post some pictures from this year's trip when I get a chance.
    2 points
  5. I tied these from Pattern on In The Riffle. Anyone used them before?
    1 point
  6. Government discussion online Nov 3, 7pm see here to sign up: https://mywildalberta.ca/fishing/fisheries-management/default.aspx Looks like angling restrictions are in the works since that is the easiest thing for the government to control. Wise to get educated on restrictions that will be introduced. It will be interesting to see how the recreational anglers are effected in comparison to the guiding industry.
    1 point
  7. A friend suggested Halloween Mask materials for pike flies. The stuff comes in many obnoxious colours. Right time of the season to acquire a selection. I tie Clousers out of the stuff. I think the stuff is Poly Vinyl. The best body material I found was Easter Egg basket stuffing material. Like the masks, it comes in weird colours. And I make my own leaders. Tools and materials are cheap. Consider a stainless meat cutters stainless glove. This one works well. https://northwoodsoutlet.com/product/normark-fillet-glove/ Don
    1 point
  8. Message sent Noodles
    1 point
  9. hi, im 13 years old i did the hike last year it took me one day (a 10 .6 hour hkie back) its worth it for the fish, there is a lodge in the far back lake thats were all of the fish are. its not even worth fishing by the camps. good luck
    1 point
  10. I went with the Redington Escape waders at the beginning of the year. I have a hard time spending too much money on waders. I previously had the Redington entry-level waders. The Escape is a step up from that. 4-layer lower and 3-layer upper. Hand warmer too. About 15 - 20 trips so far this year. No problems yet.
    1 point
  11. I think you need to pick your spots ..... the off leash area and parking lot off southland and deerfoot is a gong show and should be monitored for numbers or else shut down ......
    1 point
  12. Pike fishing is on fire right now. I would recommend an 8wt rod. I personally opt for an intermediate sink line for most pike fishing---even in water less than 1m deep. Until mid-June, you can get away with a floating line. Most of the pike will still be sitting in less than 3m of water. When the water hits around 12-14C there is the potential for topwater pike action too. On all stillwater, weighted flies are not really necessary because the angler just has to wait for the fly to sink. If you feel you need it, a small sink tip will often help, but you still probably will not need more than 3IPS for next month or so. I would rather use a weightless (or close to) fly and a sink tip over a weighted fly and a floating line. I use a 3-piece leader system. 5' 40# fluoro leader -> 3' 25# fluoro leader -> (clasp) -> 1.5-2' NiTi wire bite tippet. The clasp has a 20# break point, making it the weak point of the system. You can buy a pike leader---just put a clasp on it so you do not eat through the bite tippet. For flies---just use something 2/0 or bigger. The humble red-n-white pike bunny is a killer pattern. Deceivers and clousers also work. You can use your big articulated trout flies, but be aware that a pike's teeth are designed to hold on to natural/fleshy materials (the exception being bucktail, which seems to survive longer than most materials). So, those nice marabou flies will not see more than 10 or so pike before being completely stripped of all the nice wispy marabou. Deer hair poppers and sliders are all great. Big poppers work too. Like most fly fishing, it is more how you present the fly than the actual fly itself. So, last weekend, it was the hand-over-hand (rolly-polly) constant velocity retrieve that triggered strikes. Do yourself a solid and debarb your hooks---you will pick a lot of flies out of their gills. Jaw spreaders and a good set of long-handled pliers are important. I prefer not to use jaw spreaders, but sometimes they will not open their mouths. And remember, strip set. A trout set does absolutely nothing to set the hook. It is literally better to do nothing and just hang on than to lift your rod on a strike. When you get the fish in, I actually prefer not use a net at any time. Once in a net a pike thrashes like mad. Grip smaller pike firmly behind the head but over the gill plates (even their gills have teeth, so watch out for that). If you are in your pontoon, getting the gill-plate grip is important to handling the pike efficiently. Last piece, cuts and scrapes are a natural part of pike fishing. I highly recommend keeping a bottle of rubbing alcohol to clean any cuts when you get back to the car. This might seem a bit paranoid, but after 2 occasions of requiring antibiotics from relatively small pike scrapes, I am a little paranoid. Within 2 hours, there are probably dozens of places to catch pike. Dalemead, Eagle, and Chestmere are three that are within an hour of Calgary. Within 2 hours, there are too many options to list. Good luck.
    1 point
  13. a new account, made with the name orvis only (and what lodge on a certain lake is an Orvis lodge) , and "stonefly" hasn't made an appearance under his normal name big surprise hint, keep your lies to your own 'blog'
    1 point
  14. Safety in numbers so maybe we should get 50 or so people together and head up to the lake Every year this topic comes up and it's the same BS
    1 point
  15. What a load of malarky. There is nothing difficult about the Chaba other than the fact it's cold. Bears ha ha....see any aliens on the way in or out? Almost sounds like fear mongering...you haven't worked on any political campaigns in the U.S. have you? Fishing is like anywhere else...you need to have a clue what your doing. It ain't shooting ducks in a barrel but if you have a big enough net you can just scoop em up...(Kidding!).
    1 point
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